Warning: Your keyboard could be a danger to you and the environment.

Sound preposterous? Then consider this: Some keyboards contain nanosilver, which, because of its antimicrobial properties, is increasingly being incorporated into everyday items even though studies have questioned its health and environmental safety.

Studies are raising concerns about the proliferation of nanotechnology, which can be found in numerous products, from IT components to cosmetics.

"The biggest issue around nanotechnology is that we don't know [all of its risks]. We're putting things on the market that haven't been fully tested," says Sheila Davis, executive director of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC).

Nanotechnology refers to work done on the nanoscale; 1 nanometre equals a billionth of a metre, or about 1/100,000 the thickness of a sheet of paper.

Use of this technology can save resources and energy. Moreover, nanomaterials offer potential benefits that could revolutionize our world. For example, they could be used to track tumours or clean up contaminated water and soil.

But scientific studies have also found potential health and environmental problems with nanomaterials.